The tapioca pearls are a cassava by-product that pop like popcorn when the moist starch is cooked in a very hot pan. In Brazil it is often used to make our classic dessert called Sagu, in which the tapioca pearls are cooked in red wine and spices and served with a milky custard. In more modern Brazilian recipes, such as Alex Atala’s, cooked tapioca pearls are used to add texture to sauces in fish dishes. Available from selected Asian grocers and online*.
*Availability in Australia, please check your own country’s online stores, supermarkets or South American Grocers for Brazilian ingredients.